9 Apr 2021

Ashworth in line to make debut, says Watson

Ian Watson has confirmed that Jack Ashworth is match-fit and ready to play after what he described as an 'up and down pre-season'. The Grand Final winner in 2019 joined the club from St Helens, and the Giants Head Coach indicated that after building his fitness up, he's now in a position where he's ready to play for the Claret and Gold this Sunday, live on OuRLeague, against Leigh Centurions.Click here for more information on how to make sure you're able to tune in.

"Yeah fingers crossed we will [see Jack Ashworth for his full debut]" said Watson. "It's been an up and down pre-season for Jack, so this is his first opportunity to put his best foot forward. We ran him out in the Leeds game but we were under strict instructions to have him play no more than 15 minutes. We've been building him up since then and now he's ready."

Watson stressed the importance for the forward to think about the basics, and putting a shift in for the team.

"He just needs to think about the basics - carrying the ball hard, competing hard and defending hard. He just needs to work really hard for the team."

Watson was a Challenge Cup finalist with Salford Red Devils in 2020, but told reporters that despite having a desire to reach Wembley again, which would be the Giants first trip there since 2009, he is just thinking about Sunday's tie with Leigh before looking further forward in the competition, and wants his side to continue to work through the new processes and mentalities as a team that he is aiming to build during his tenure.

"You want to go to the Challenge Cup final every year, but it takes that time to get that consistency in your game. We just need to concentrate on Leigh, we're working through new processes all the time, new mentalities as a team. We feel we're moving in the right direction, hopefully it all works out at the weekend and we get into the hat."

On strategy for the game, however, Watson has a simple message for his time - a need to get the win and move on to the Quarter Finals, but said that adapting to knockout rugby is tough and the team are aiming to build that understanding and mentality to be able to win the big games.

"Your mentality is to just win, you need to just get a win. In cup games and playoff games. You wanna build the right way to be able to play so at the backend of the year when you're playing in playoffs you understand how to deal with them and win."

"We try to build that understanding early. No business opens and becomes a million dollar business in the first six months. We're disappointed we didn't win our first two games, we could have won those games but it's not about could have or should have.

"What we're trying to do is put ourselves in a really good position so we build the right club going forward. No matter how much you want to chase it - you have to build it so we're a strong club going forward and that's what we need to do."

Finally, Watson gave an indication to the fitness of Aidan Sezer, who's missed the first two games of the season through injury. He insists he's making great progress but wouldn't be drawn on when he'll return, saying only that things are looking positive for the half-back.

"Yes he's progressing very well. We'll keep our fingers crossed. He had a really good session yesterday, he has a day off today and he'll have a couple of back to back days. We'll see how he comes through that and we'll be looking really positive then.

"We'll see. You always hope but it's got to be the right time for him. What we don't want to do is bring him in and see him breakdown again. But if he's fit. He'll be in the squad."